Joel Robles continues in goal as Maarten Stekelenburg recovers from a dead leg
Hull City 2 - 2 EvertonThe Blues see out the calendar year with a trip to Hull where Ronald Koeman has rung more changes in his starting XI.
Back in are Jagielka, Barkley and Valencia, with Holgate, Funes Mori and Lennon making way. Tom Davies and Dominic Calvert-Lewin await more playing time from the bench, while Stekelenburg and McCarthy are still out injured. No place for Gerard Deulofeu, who is rumoured to be on the verge of securing a loan deal with AC Milan.
The game starts with the requisite upfield punt from Ashley Williams. A loose ball from Berry initiates Hull's first attack, Livermore's shot block out for a throw-in. Barry then fouled Elmohamady, and the long free-kick cleared away, with Everton unable to get out of their half. Snodgrass tried to curl one in at the far post but wide.
Hull were showing more desire, Barkley dispossessed rather easily. More Hull pressure saw Elmohamady cross in low, and Jagielka booted it high out for a corner. and at the far post Dawson smashes in the headed on ball. The brickbats will go to poor defence but the flick on fell well for Dawson and he could not miss.
Barry committed another foul but Gana and Valencia combined to set up Everton's first forward venture, ending with a cross that did not find Lukaku. Gana did well on the next play to feed Mirallas who cut in and fired low, deflecting off Marshall for a corner that did not threaten.
The next attack saw Barkley pick out Coleman who tried a clever header that hit the foot of the post and bounced across, avoiding Lukaku. Everton started probing with meaning, first Barkley then Mirallas then Valencia driving forward but the area was packed with Tigers.
Some poor play out of the back started with a bad clearance from Robles but the Blues survived some very scrappy play with Barry picking out Barkley wide left, then the attacked down the right but Coleman could not reach Lukaku who was well marked.
Elmohamady had acres of space down the Hull right, Mbokani getting a header off the cross, while at the other end, Barkley drove a diagonal shot a yard wide. Everton were looking a little vulnerable to the balls coming in. Blues attacks were laboured and Baines resorted to a heavy deep cross that Valencia could not reach. Then Barry smacked one just inches wide, almost deflected in off Dawson.
The tempo was ramping up up with Everton pressing hard but Hull defending well, and Maguire ran forward and screwed in a testing cross that was put out beyond the far post. Everton attacked again, moving the ball well enough, but increasingly frantic defending by the home side was thwarting them. Valencia's drive was deflected out for a corner, taken by Mirallas but leading to more laboured build-up and probing but with little sight of Marshall's goal.
Lukaku drove into the middle but a sea of bodies meant more deflections and an end to another attack. Hull attacked to relieve the pressure and won another corner from Snodgrass, cleared easily but lost in midfield. Myler was then tripped giving Snodgrass another chance to create more trouble.
Everton probed and prodded away slowly again and were stopped, with Hull building another attack that faltered. At the other end, Valencia got behind the back line and played in a great cross but Lukaku was miles away from it. Back to defence and Gana again cleaning up. Then another slowly constructed attack finishing with Mirallas screwing his shot wide.
Baines played in a great ball to Lukaku's feet, his shot deflected behind for a corner from which Mbokani and Marshall contrive to score a nice own-goal for Everton on the stroke of half-time. Mbokani's head hit Marshall's punching arm, and the ball spun off his forearm straight into the Hull net.
It took a few minutes to get going after the restart, Mirallas and Barkley galloping forward, played to feet for Lukaku to set himself and shoot, the shot deflected up off a defender and then brilliantly tipped onto post and bar by Marshall to deny the big man.
The Blues were pressing harder now, Barkley almost playing on Lukaku. Then Mirallas firing at Marshall. Lukaku then playing an inviting ball for Barkley to run on to and he really should have dome a lot better with his shot that hit Marshall. At the other end, a free-kick lined up by Snodgrass and smashed into the frame of the goal with Robles rooted. < /p>
Everton won a corner played high to the back post by Mirallas. Mbokani ran across Jagielka, drawing a foul, and a card for the Everton captain, the free-kick going out for a corner, initially cleared but then back in by Elmohamady and stopped by Robles. Elmohamady then booked for his foul on Mirallas.
Maguire intercepted a loose pass and ran forward, getting a soft foul off Baines, and giving Snodgrass another chance and this one was brilliant, all the way around the wall and into the top corner, pawed at by the flailing Robles.
Koeman made a change with Davies on for Barry. Hull went trough a decent spell with their lead restored while Everton struggled to regroup. Another corner punched away by Robles and the Blues tried to break but were stalled. The Blues were having a tough time breaking out as Hull kept pushing back. Lukaku seemed to make space only to make a lazy useless pass. Barkley seemed to be fouled but no said Moss.
Calvert-Lewin replaced Valencia who had run around well. Barkley almost got a low cross in for Lukaku. Davies dragged down Snodgrass (literally) for a yellow card. DCL was fouled wide right for a Barkley set-piece that turned into another Hull attack until Livermore fouled. But Everton attacked again and won a corner. More pressure saw a hard Davies cross seem to strike a hand but it was not clear-cut.
Barkley was immediately closed down as he shot, after being invited by Davies. Maguire then caught Mirallas but Everton totally wasted the free-kick, trying to take it quickly. Baines paused on the left, looked up, and swung in a great ball n for a good downward header from Barkley to equalize again, with 6 mins left.
Davies ran forward with the ball but lost it easily and from the move Hull won a corner. Robles tried a long ball to release Lukaku. It was still competitive despite Koeman seemingly locking up with Funes Mori on instead of Lennon. A fantastic cross from Coleman, Calvert-Lewin seemed to have the goal at his mercy but headed wide.
Davies doing everything to try and win a penalty but he over-egged it a little, the blues looking to press through 4 minutes of added time. At the other end, Funes Mori played in Mbokani but his cross was not converted.
It was another painful struggle, perhaps some positives from Barkley using his talents a little better but still not dazzling.
Hull City: Marshall, Dawson, Davies, Maguire [Y:62'], Robertson, Meyler (56' Clucas), Livermore, Elmohamady [Y:62'], Snodgrass, Mbokani, Diomande (85' Huddlestone).
Subs not Used: Maloney, Jakupovic, Weir, Henriksen, Mason.
Everton: Robles, Coleman, Williams, Jagielka [Y:59'], Baines, Gueye, Barry (65' Davies [Y:75']), Barkley, Mirallas (87' Funes Mori) , Valencia (74' Calvert-Lewin), Lukaku.
Subs not Used: Hewelt, Holgate, Cleverley, Lennon.
Referee: Jon Moss
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